The effects of divorce on parent-child relationships

After a divorce, there may be a primary parent, verbalization of resentment or change in parental roles that could affect the parent-child relationship.

Even when both parties want to split up, a divorce in Colorado can still lead to a lot of stress and heartache. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over the course of a year there are 3.9 divorces per 1,000 residents in the state. This shows that even though divorce can be hard, many couples choose to go through with it. When children are involved in a separation, it can add an extra layer of worry. One or both parents may end up having a completely different relationship with their children due to the ending of the marriage.

Can make one parent primary

During the separation process, couples may decide how they plan to split up the parenting roles. In some cases, the mother or the father ends up having more time with the children due to how the custody is split. While this unequal splitting of time does not always have negative effects, it can harm the parent-child relationship for each spouse.

For example, if a father only gets to see his children on the weekends, he is expected to maintain attachment with small slivers of the kids' time. Eventually, the children may start to feel distant and uncomfortable when they have to spend time with their father, or they may view him as the fun-time parent. On the other hand, the mother in this situation is expected to go through the morning, bedtime, dinner and homework routines all by herself. She has to shoulder most of the responsibilities of raising the children, which can lead to her feeling worn down and overwhelmed.

Can lead to learned resentment

Spouses often have negative feelings towards each other during a separation. If these feelings are verbalized to or around the kids, it could cause the children to start harboring similar negative feelings toward the other parent. Even though divorce is a high-conflict time, parents should strive to speak well about each other in front of the kids to help promote a positive relationship with both the mother and father.

May require new parental roles

When one household is split into two, parents have to take on new roles to help their children transition. Being a provider and physical caregiver may not be enough. Becoming an emotional sounding board is not uncommon because many children struggle with a divorce. Some parents may have to help their kids work through their new emotions to maintain old relationships.

When Colorado parents choose to split up, they have to work together to create a new type of family dynamic for the benefit of their children. No matter the situation of a divorce, it may be beneficial to work with a knowledgeable family law attorney.